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Please Take this 13-Question Poll

By October 12, 2013January 14th, 2014Announcements

Hi Fitness Peeps!

Sometimes I wonder about my readers and I want to know more about you. I’m very curious to see the results so please take the time to complete this. Feel free to leave comments as well as I’m sure my questions/answers aren’t comprehensive. It isn’t feasible to include every exercise in existence and every variation of all the good exercises, so just answer to the best of your ability. You might need to read THIS article if you don’t know the difference between mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage. I will post the results early next week. Thank you!

Glute Sculpture

[wpsqt name=”Random Questions” type=”survey”]


  • Sean says:

    I feel that Banded Sumo Walks gives me the most burn/pump. As well body weight glute bridges with a band around the knees to add some abduction burns pretty good too.

  • Jennifer Cavallero says:

    I’ll be in Az the end of the 24-26 I’d love to train with you!

  • petrina says:

    I feel the most burn and sore glutes with the walking lunge with barbel

  • L says:

    I’m new to this and didn’t know there was a difference between glute bridges and hip thrusts. What are the differences? I started with body weight glute bridges, and as I advanced, I added progressively more weight, but it got to be too impractical to stack several plates on my pelvis, so I stopped. Also, bad knees made getting up and down too painful. I can’t afford your hip thruster–would solve my problems if I could.

    • Fred says:

      Hi L,

      There might be a more technical difference that Bret could elaborate on but for my mind, a glute bridge is performed on the floor whereas hip thrusts involve shoulder elevation, feet elevation or both. By elevating feet/shoulders you’re able to thrust the hips through a greater range of motion than a glute bridge. Bret’s article here is fairly comprehensive:

  • Ashley says:

    Is this a case of just clicking one option or can we click all that applies?

  • Martin says:

    Favourite exercise is actually bent over row, went for military press instead. Squat could of been if it had been overhead.

  • Bob says:

    I get a lot of pump/burn from banded walks and banded abductions. Most soreness from RDL (although even more so in the hamstrings).

  • Manasee says:

    Hi Bret,

    I have been wanting to write to you for sometime. I read your articles and even perform some of the exercises. I am former athlete, state level tennis player, a gymnast and a fitness enthusiast since the age of three i guess. But, a bad ligament tear and some more injuries threw me overboard and out of the circuit, a kid and losing my father were a few reasons i kept giving myself for losing control of myself, my life and my body. I dont know when i turned from a strong and athletic 160 pound player to a 200 pound whiner.
    Anyway, i did not write to whine and complain. I have embraced exercise once more, but the losing process is very slow, given that i am no more 23 but 32 makes it more difficult. What I love about you is your research and the fact that you are an expert on one particular body part and are not all over the place. You call yourself the glute guy and thats what I like most. I know I can close my eyes and perform your exercises and see results.
    I thought I would tell you something that you might find interesting. I am from India, meaning, born and raised in India, then lived in London for some time and then Canada and finally I find myself in USA. India is where Yoga was born and it was a part of our school Physical class. But reading your glute articles got me thinking, especially the one where you ask to sit all the way down and mention if one is able to do so, then they are really fit and their muscles are supple and working well. Now in India, we traditionally have been squatting all the way down in our toilets. That is, we never heard of the western comod systems until about ten years ago. The rural areas still havent heard of the western method of cleaning their bowels, why so, even my home, which is in an urban place, has the traditional squatting type of Indian toilet. My grandmother who is 86 still uses the Indian toilet, that is squats all the way down and gets all the way up when done. Now, I hear more and more people changing their toilet systems to the western ways and complaining of sore joints and arthritic pains etc. And I wonder, if one continued using the Indian method of toilets, they would still be as fit as my grandmother, who I have never heard complaining of any aches and pains. Just thought I would share. Also, i do not plan to get my toilet modified to the Western type, ever… Let me know your views.
    Thank you for listening.

  • Jacob Søholm says:

    It was not listet as an option, but I feel that I get the best glute development from heavy sled pushing, treating it as a lower body exercise, and not as a condition tool.
    Doing progressively heavier sets of 30 meters until I max out, have given me excellent growth.

  • Bruce says:


    I am so grateful for your sharing of gluteal knowledge. You have enhanced my strength in the traditional powerlifts by way of the weighted barbell hip thrust. All of my clients gluteal strength and gluteal aesthetics have improved too!!!

  • Tracy says:

    Bret, Seriously, Thank You for sharing your knowledge and experience! I have been an endurance athlete for a long time. I completed my first full distance ironman this summer. In addition lots of 100 mile bike rides and a few 50k runs. I’ve not been able to change my body composition due to the allday efforts on bike, etc. I was hitting the gym 2 xs a week but usually so drained from weekend rides that the effort in gym was minimal. I purchased Strong Curves and started scaling back on cycling and now hitting weights 4 days a week. Genetically my glutes are not pretty, always hate to put on bathing suit when triathlon training. With Strong Curves and the post you share Im seeing some positive results. I plan on dedicating many months concentrating on glutes and I’m feeling positive! I’m a Personal Trainer and with the information you provide I’m getting better and better at my job. Could you consider offering a weekend workshops for trainers?

  • Greg says:

    I’m always glad to answer your questions Bret, and I hope the information you glean from your followers helps your business be more successful.

    Two exercises that give me a decent burn in the glutes when done as exercises to finish off a lower body workout are fire hydrants, or whatever they’re actually called, but with a leg extension when the thigh is fully raised; the other is a variant of a quadruped hip extension where I also externally rotate the hip joint of the fixed leg, trying to get the pelvis as vertical as possible and the foot of the extended leg as high as possible. Both seem to work the muscles that externally rotate and abduct the hip, as opposed to just working in the sagittal plane (if i have my anatomical planes correct). These variations originally came from warmups for martial arts classes I took long ago, and aren’t my ideas.

    But if I want to throw in some damage to the glutes, then it’s lunges at the end. I hate lunges.

  • Maria says:

    Interesting poll, Bret…look forward to the results!

    Just wanted to add, because they weren’t listed; my favourite exercise is the single leg RDL…I get most soreness from the DB walking lunge ( I hate them :D) and I also get a great pump from the X-band walks.


  • Ong Beng Hwee says:

    On questions 11 and 12, it is fairly subjective if the style of training you are adopting is on muscle damage as what Bret had mentioned previously, then more likely I think that greater soreness be felt. Correct me if I am wrong 🙂

  • Manny Prieto says:

    You didn’t put snatches in the “favorite exercises” list. 🙁 Yes cleans are an Olympic lift but I do like snatches and other exercises a lot more. So I put squats as my favorite.

    As for glute exercises, I listed kettlebell swings as my favorite just because they’re explosive and fun, but I “feel” hip thrusts the most. Maybe if I had access to a heavier kettlebell, or I went for a longer time under tension, I might get a better glute pump from swings (not that I don’t get any pump as I am doing them currently).

    Oh, and I enjoy reading all the information on this site. It’s great to see such a great combination of practical and scientific information – and I do enjoy the “well-developed glute” pictures as well. 😉

  • Mathiah says:

    You left out clam ups in your questions about glute activation and pump, that is MUCH higher on my list than band resisted clams.

  • Dawn says:

    Walking lunges with a barbell for the most burn and sore glutes for the next couple days.

  • Yannick Noah says:

    Hello sir. i only started doing direct glute work recently so i guess i am still learning to activate warmup sets usualy include 100 reps of bird dogs, fire hydrants, and bodyweight glute bridges.I feel that after warming up with these exercises my glutes are more primed for the main movements. I remembered before i started doing these activating exercises and jumped straight to barbell hip thrusts, i felt that my hamstrings contributed alot to the movement, as opposed to the glutes.Currently my main glute exercises are single leg hip thrusts and barbell glute bridges. And after experimenting with different stances, foot placement and angles, etc, ive finally found my sweet spot for targeting the glutes, particularly on the barbell glute bridges. So i would say currently now single leg hip thrusts and barbell glute bridges are my favourite glute exercises for now. However i do wish to do barbell hip thrusts soon. Thank you for the great info on your site:)

  • Larry Torris says:

    I haven’t tried the single leg hip thrust yet, I have been working bi-laterally with hip thrusts up until now and uni-laterally with RDL’s and split squats. I plan to add in the single leg thrust in the next number of weeks and I expect mainly to feel a lot of mechanical tension and muscle damage going by what I have felt from the bi-lateral version up to now. Hope this helps with your survey.

  • Sara says:

    Hi Bret, I really love one leg knee circles from a qudraped position, add a 5lb ankle weight and it’s money.thanks for everything.

  • Marc says:

    My favorite exercise is a kettlebell snatch. It really reinforces the power shift from lower body to upper body.

  • Sandy says:

    I really love the single-leg reverse hyper with an ankle weight on. I feel my glutes contract very strong when doing those, but that was not an option, so I chose the back extension instead (also like this one just like the reverse hyper better). If I had a back extension machine I would probably do those more often, it’s just awkward on the bench or stability ball. I just wanted say thank you for all your glute training info. I’m fixing to be 47 years old, and my husband tells me I have a “great ass”, so BIG THANKYOU:) Maybe one day I can post a picture if I can get the nerve:)


  • Horizontal back extensions done with some PPT and a big glute squeeze at the top have worked wonders for me in terms of activation and tension with other lifts. Full ATG back squats done with a medium to high bar position and in weightlifting shoes have put the most size on my glutes (at least from my observation). Reverse lunges and walking lunges get my glutes the sorest and I guess that would mean the most muscle damage (especially upper glutes).

    Nice poll Bret!

  • Alex says:

    Your doing great, Bret. Let’s not make this weird- just keep being awesome!

  • N. Anderson says:

    where was the sled push in this survey? I swear NOTHING works my tush like a sled push

  • Rich says:

    I just shocked myself by repeatedly picking squats b/c I rarely program them for my clients, especially for glute development. I thought about my own training (and I never rarely emphasize glutes), but it’s the way I perform squats:

    for max pump I to partials pistols with a heavy barbell on my back doing 15-40 reps.

    for max soreness I go to the stretch position (max hip flexion) and then emphasize hard external rotation, abduction, and “heel stomp” up to 90*, sink back down, and repeat. I only come up to lockout every 3-5 “pulses” making 1 rep. The glutes scream at 3-6 reps.

    I also really like the circular monster walks.

    Thanks for making me think about my own programming…always caught thinking about patients/clients and I get mentally lazy with myself!

  • Brent says:

    sled pull for me, really gets the glutes and legs.

  • Nate says:

    I would also add good mornings into some of those, def feel those!

  • Sylva Mischke says:

    I find reverse hypers to be extremely taxing on the glutes. Even more so when supplementing them with regular hypers.
    Nick Tummenelo from Performance U has his version of the traditional “bird dog” which he calls “The Superdog”. You’re still on a prone position but one leg is in full hip flexion tucked under you. Basically laying your chest on your one thigh. …THEN lifting the other leg up. BY having the one leg “tucked” under you neutralize the low back therefore stressing the glute max and not the low back. I’ve been doing this move for years and have used it with many clients in order for them to improve glute strength with no external load.

    Keep up the great work Bret!
    Making stronger and rounder asses is your calling.

  • Chris says:

    I am an athletic trainer. You didnt give an option for AT (or other) in your profession question. I just wanted to let you know certified athletic trainers frequent your website. I have been reading your stuff for several years now and applying it towards myself, my athletes and my patients.

  • Julia says:

    I wanted to add single leg squats as the one that gets me the most sore or muscle damage. I was also wondering why RDLs were not on some of the questions. Thank you for all the great info and for really listening to your readers.

  • Shawn says:

    Highest metabolic work for me is high rep (100+) banded pull throughs

    Soreness…who gets sore? I always finish with high rep band work( banded good mornings, pull throughs, banded squats) and never get sore. I Fn hate being sore. There is no room for it in my strength training program.

    • Michael T. says:

      Amen Shawn! I was literally sore most days for years when I would do heavy sets of squats and deadlifts once per week… I was slow, stiff with a pretty average looking lower body. Now, I work the glutes daily and I am never sore! I wish I had access to words of training wisdom from folks like you and Bret years ago!

      On a side note, ever notice that at the typical gym there are average glutes, men and women, but at the typical yoga studio or college or professional sport team there are fabulous glutes everywhere?! Maybe slow, heavy weights, getting super sore isn’t the most effective way to activate the glutes after all…

  • Hillary says:

    Glute bridges with my feet elevated are the most effective for me. Thanks for writing on that one, by the way. I also love curtsy lunges to round out the curves.

  • would have checked off that I mostly do bodyweight training. only have access to weights one day a week. and a “not sure” box would be very helpful because sometimes I honestly don’t know the answer to the questions you’re asking. sometimes it feels like a crapshoot. did start poking my butt during workouts though after reading your post about that. for me, resistance band single leg standing extensions and abductions give me the most burn and DOMS. thanks for getting to know us better!

  • Gina says:

    Walking lunges all around for everything!

  • Wish there would have been “other” as a choice and the option to list
    your other choice. Great questions BTW!!!

  • Victoria C. says:

    I have always found that walking lunges with dumbells made my glutes the sorest than squats or any other exercise, probably with bulgarian s/s coming in as #2. I have recently read some of your articles and I have incorporated the glute bridges into my workout but I don’t have the glute growth I was hoping for. I saw others mentioned the walking lunges with barbell or dumbells made them the sorest also. Perhaps I just haven’t been doing the glute bridges long enough yet (2-3 months) or maybe they just don’t make me all that sore. I do thank you for your information and enjoy reading your articles.

  • Kevin says:

    I think deadlifts in the survey should have been split up between sumo, trap bar, and conventional.

  • amc says:

    The most memorable burn was from a Squat Press machine. Felt it for a couple days.

  • Bill says:

    I had to pick 3 options in the background bit lol, actually a mature student trying to head towards final phase rehab or similar. Quite a lot of students read you Brett, can’t believe you forgot us 😉

  • Chuck says:

    Bret, single leg RDL’S result in the greatest DOMS for me. They were not listed. I picked glute bridge, but have to say that lunges and rear foot elevated SL squats are real close to the glute bridge.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Angelina says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the results – wish we could have ranked some of our answers tho.

  • Chris Buck says:

    Actually, the single leg deadlift hit’s my glutes the most, but it wasn’t listed here. Love the stuff you publish Bret.

  • Jon Contos says:

    Since you got to meet Stu McGill I want to first get better athletic core, I have back stenosis with some anterior hip tilt. Want know a few stretches, and some McGill comments you might have learned on back and core and your glute magic.Bret at 60 years young I am all ears! I have done many of the exercises at on time or another thanks for all you do. Jon

  • karina says:

    Thank you Bret for all the information you have given us and I love how my glutes are now firm and rounder.

  • Janelle says:

    I hope you don’t mind multiple answers to some of these questions…the poll lets us choose more than one option…..

    Anyway, I just wanted to comment on the question “Why do you train?” – I stopped myself at this one, because I wanted to just answer “strength”, but in all honesty I had to choose “aesthetics” as well. As a woman, almost everything comes down to aesthetics in the end. (no pun intended, but kinda cute)

  • Jeff says:

    Favorite exercises are:
    reverse grip Rows
    Chin ups
    Military Press
    Wide grip upright Rows

    Oddly when I do bridge work I feel it more in my hamstrings than my glutes.

  • Mike says:

    Trained with a high end trainer for past 2 years. Learned a lot from him but too pricey…. After joining this site I’ve been on my own with better results. Learn something new here all the time! My glutes are now a strong point where before they were a weak link (not that long ago) because of imbalances. Because of the glute training my pelvis sits properly and every movement feels more natural. Grateful for the freely shared knowledge!

  • Keats says:

    You didn’t have single leg deadlifts as an option for some of the survey questions. For really toasting my glutes (not that I train for that) and making them sore (along with hammies), hard to think of an harder movement that loaded single leg deadlifts performed with a hip-hinge/neutral spine emphasis.


  • Jennifer says:

    It is impossible to pick just one – sorry!
    I love your science and methods – they work – and your articles are fascinating. I also love how you pay attention to your fans and ask for our thoughts and opinions, and how you take the time to respond to questions.

  • peter says:


    A giant set of hip thrust with single leg deadlift is what works best for me.
    I never heard of glute training since your first article on t- nation. thank you for that!

  • Janet says:

    Hi Bret,
    I answered the survey questions using the choices you offered but the choices didn’t reflect my goals (rehab) favourite (kettlebell snatch) or most challenging movement (not having back pain after prone or standing hip and back extension).

    You didn’t ask any questions about the effectiveness of your web page but I’ll offer the one change I’d like to see and that is to not see the pop up window asking for my email address. You have it in your database already and the irritation factor of that popup doesn’t lessen over time.

    I’m enjoying and using your book, and I find your articles interesting and enjoyable. The videos are especially helpful.

  • Simo says:

    First off, I want to thank you Bret for your excellent work, I have been following your blog and reading your articles for many years. I think it was fall of 2009, or early 2010, that I first time read your article Dispelling the Glute Myth. Ever since I have been a big fan of your work.
    I was probably the first person to try barbell glute bridges and hip thrusts in Finland. It is a shame that it hasn’t gained more popularity, the only people who I know to hip thrust, are either my friends and to ladies at my gym (who are imitating me). But the latest issue of one fitness magazine (Fit, october 2013) had an article on glute training, and hip thrusts were listed among the exercises. No credit given to Bret, though.

    I must say that I am really, really surprised that hardly anyone mentions hip thrusts as their Number 1 pump exercise. In my experience the hip thrust is the winner in all three categories, it gives most tension, pump and burn – at least in my glutes. which are really strong. My hip thrust 1 RM is 230 kg (507 lb), and my bodyweight is 72 kg (159 lb).(I am Male, by the way) When I’m hip thrusting, I use many rep ranges and loads, sometimes I go heavy, sometimes do medium reps with moderate weights. Super long sets are the hardest to do, both mentally and physically, the burn after 50-70 reps with 40-50 kg is excruciating. And when it comes to glute pump, I have found that methods like constant tension, rest pause, or countdowns (concentric + isometric ala Ben Bruno) give me an insane pump. It is hard to walk when the glutes are so pumped. Last week I measured my hips before and after 4 sets of moderate weight hip thrusts, before 95 cm, after 98 cm.
    I believe that the key to get freakishly strong glutes is to hip thrust several times a week. Before I thrusted maybe once a week, but ever since I started to thrust several times, my glute strength, hardness and ease of activation has gone through the roof. Even squats make my glutes pumped, something I didn’t experience before I increased the hip thrusting frequency.
    So what I am trying to say is that, in my opinion, hip thrusts (or glute bridges) should be prioritized over other glute exercises. Don’t get me wrong, I love all hip extension excercises, but I think the hip thrust reigns supreme. Hip thrusts may feel difficult and awkward first, but if you persist and keep on hip thrusting week in, week out, you will reap rich rewards.


    • Michael T. says:

      I totally agree with Simo’s comments. I would only hip thrust once per week until I completed Bret’s 30 day hip thrust challenge. I was reluctant to do the challenge, believing that I know my body pretty well and that everyday would be too hard and I’d burn out or too easy and I’d see no results. I did it and I was amazed! Now, I continue to alternate some form of thrusting every day! The craziest thing is that I can’t imagine working any other body part 6-7 days per week. I eat like a pig, am getting better ab definition and my glutes are the biggest and strongest they’ve ever been!

      I have been training with weights and various forms of cardio for years and have seen more dramatic changes in my body in the last 2 months than I have in the last few years! I was really reluctant at first to commit so much to thrusting, and now I have finally bought a copy of Strong Curves on Amazon. I must admit that I still feel a bit self conscious as a man with all of my workouts oriented around glutes, but really… Who cares?! Squats are strange too, but they are accepted. And if you alternate insanely heavy weight with body weight every day, your glutes will be asleep with your knees, back and quads destroyed!

      Speaking of squats… I still see so many sites and magazines with the same old tired routines of 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps of ATG squats, etc. Personally, I have been squatting for years and I am strong and my form is clean. My glutes were cool, but NEVER have I had a pump in the glutes and hamstrings as I have from hip thrusts, glute bridges, and all of the other targeted glute work! I ran hill sprints and alternated them with bodyweight marching hip thrusts yesterday, I felt like a machine… Faster, stronger with no soreness and no ‘roids! Hip thrust has my vote 110%

      Thanks again Bret, Kellie and Marianne!

  • Bret,
    Thanks again! My favorite exercise is handstands/ hand balancing+ Planche, elbow lever, hspu. Chins/ muscle ups great also. I’m really starting to love the bridge & trust but only been doing those few months. Never really felt the glutes working before. Proper Respect!

  • Steve Grose says:

    Hey Bret, I enjoy your site and overall posts very much. Have learnt a lot thankyou 🙂
    I am a Powerlifter and Strength trainer. I do have lower back issues joint wise with quite a bit of disc degeneration throughout most of spine due to an inflammatory disorder(ankylosing spondylitis)and suffer very tight muscles as a result.
    My Glutes are always sore to some extent and wouldn’t be surprised if not engaging properly. Tight hams and spinal erectors so am always foam rolling etc.
    your exercises are helping me to build a lot of areas as well as being able to relieve some problem areas, just gotta keep on keeping on…..regards Steve

  • Dunkman says:


    If this survey gives you mixed results or you decide to do it again in the future, you might want to consider some sort of rank ordering the answers as opposed to picking only one. For example I most come to your site for technical training information, but I also like other aspects. Hip thrusts give me the greatest glute activation but the squat is a close second for me. Some way of articulating that might give you a fuller picture. Anyway, yours is one of my favorite sites, one I check daily andrecommend to a lot of people. Keep up the great work!

  • Emile says:

    As an elite cyclist, I feel most of my fellow competitors just focus on squats and lunges, and I am convinced that hip thrusts are the way to go. I discovered this through your articles, so thanks.

    Elite cyclists are strange creatures because we need good all-round posterior chain strength that can be obtained from glute work; and we try our best to be as light as possible, so our legs are well-developed but our upper bodies are super-lean — almost sickly, like marathoners.

    Anyway, the research focus of your site is extremely helpful, but sometimes I feel that you could reach out to athletes other than football players and sprinters. Cyclists, runners, triathletes, all of them, could benefit from your know-how.

    All the best,


  • Jon says:

    This may be weird since you’re The Glute Guy, but I never make a conscious effort to train glutes, so I couldn’t answer the questions about soreness, pump, etc.

    I’m genetically predisposed to have what my tailor calls a “muscular seat,” and I’ve had trouble buying pants for as long as I can remember.

    The main reason I follow you anyway is to try to read between the lines and find ways to train lower body and lower back without making my butt bigger than it already is.

    Oh yeah…and the pictures you share of your female clients’ excellent results are a nice side benefit of being a reader too. 🙂

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